In today’s world, it is safe to say that the biggest does not mean the best. Alibaba sure has a standing when it comes to dominating e-commerce, but it comes with its own banes. There have been complaints about scams and the quality of products on the site.
Besides, it is always good to know you have various options. Not only will it provide you with a wider range to choose from in terms of products, but you’ll get a variety of shipping options, the price payable and the quality of service offered.
Continue reading to explore your options and find some of the best Alibaba alternatives.
Well, technically, this does not have a platform that resembles Alibaba. The reason I’m including The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in this list of best Alibaba alternatives. The platform itself does not allow you to make purchases. You get in touch with the supplier, find the product you want to buy and negotiate the prices for that and the shipping costs as well.
Essentially, it is a platform that puts buyers in touch with suppliers and they can get together and contact each other to decide what kind of business they want to be in. This platform has a pool of 130,000+ suppliers, all that sell verified and high-quality products.
A disadvantage can be that the minimum order quantity is very high, and buyer protection isn’t guaranteed.
Chinavasion started off as a legitimate consumer platform for the sale of wholesale electronics but has branched out into several different arenas now that deal with health, beauty, personal health protection and whatnot.
If you’re wondering about the low prices that you find on Chinavasion, it is because the people behind the vision use premium supply chains that help them get an advantage and significant independence that allows them to set prices that are marginally low. These are the same high-quality products that you’ll find on other markets but with multiple middle channels, cost added.
Low prices are one thing, but assuming that it is true always and naively purchasing it is another. For some products, you get the value of what you pay for. So if you’re finding an Alibaba alternative to escape being scammed, keep an eye out.
One of the closest alternatives of Alibaba is the Dhgate platform. Not only is it similar in terms of functionality, but even navigation through the website is alike. One of the most exciting features about ordering from DHgate, especially if you’re just starting out as a small business owner is that you find a lot of sellers here that have low minimum order quantities.
While the prices are relatively low, in comparison to the market rate, you may find that the products you find on DHgate have a slightly higher mark up than that on Alibaba. DHgate is also home to many counterfeit products, but they are open about that. So before you purchase something, make sure to contact the seller and confirm what exactly you’re going to be buying. If discounted goods are what you’re looking for, this is not a great platform for you.
This e-commerce site may not be as big as the other mentioned, but you’ll get a good deal alright. Calling it “tiny” deals is downplaying it. I think one of their biggest unique features that helps them sell is the fact that they offer free shipping. But that comes with its own figurative costs. You’ll have to wait. It can be a huge saving on your pocket, but it could really test your patience.
Another surprising thing about Tiny Deals is that if you are not satisfied with the product or you seek to return it for whatever reason, you don’t have to pay for the return at all, provided you do it within 30 days of the purchase. The refund will also come back to you within that same specified time frame.
Global Sources comes amongst one of Alibaba’s biggest competitors. It works similarly with one big difference — The sellers you’ll find on Global sources are far more legitimate than the ones you’ll find on Alibaba. This difference comes from the fact that the admission of sellers into the Global Sources platform adopts a strict protocol and a more thorough procedure, weeding out all the half-invested, ultimately fake sellers that hold a majority on Alibaba. It’s quite a stellar alternative for Alibaba I’d say.
One thing to note about Global Sources is that it is possible that the prices aren’t listed for all the products – sometimes you’ll have to contact the seller in order to negotiate and find the prices. Additionally, Global Sources has a high minimum order value.
Technically, 1688 is owned by Alibaba itself. The difference becomes apparent as you visit the site and you find out that the site is completely in Chinese and mostly caters to the Chinese market. It works as an Alibaba alternative because of the amazing range of options and a better one at that because the sellers are more open to price negotiation, because of no export costs and willingness to sell on thin margins.
A persistent problem with 1688,although, can be the fact that some sellers don’t have export licenses so getting the product shipped abroad can be difficult. It does happen though.
Another site owned by Alibaba that comes with one massive difference. On AliExpress you’ll find items listed on the site that can be bought on a retail basis. It is probable that you’ll find a lot of the same sellers and the same products on the two sites but with the bonus of being able to buy low quantities if you’re in a small business. The problem of long shipping timings persists in both places. It is a valid Alibaba alternative only if small orders matter to you.
Speaking of retail, Light In The Box is another such e-commerce site that offers a great range of products at retail. On the other hand, the site also offers wholesale.You can make a wholesale purchase, but there is no set section that you can filter out. Based on the product and the availability with the seller, you can make a wholesale purchase and negotiate the price with the seller.
One of the best parts about this is that in addition to being a customer-centric website, it also offers buyer protection.
Deal Extreme (DX)
This site, in my opinion, is one of the best Alibaba alternatives there is. If you’re a small business owner and registered as that on the site, you’re in for a treat. For business owners, Deal Extreme offers a lot of flash sales. This is especially beneficial for people who want to resell their products, this way they can make a massive profit.
The site has over 100 product categories to choose from. One of the things that does err me is that the payment and refund process can be a bit cumbersome. In fact, to confirm the payment or a single transaction, it can take upto 3 days. On the other hand, the shipping methods offer swift delivery!
This site is predominantly a B2B website that caters to the needs of small businesses or large ones for that matter. All the products on the page can be segregated into ten main categories. One of the things that does stand out and gives it a one-up over Alibaba is that the site has a minerals and metallurgy section category for wholesale.
In fact, you can choose the products you want and the manufacturers will produce the stock just for you. You usually can’t see the price on the site because the price can be negotiated. A matter to consider – it can take upto 50 days to deliver your order, but then again it depends on the speed of how soon your order is manufactured.
I wrote this article because I often got questions that revolved around ‘What is similar to Alibaba?’ But some of the more urgent questions included:
Are products on Alibaba fake?
In simple words, it is likely that you are going to find fake products on Alibaba. Because of the saturation of sellers and overcrowding of products on the platform, it is possible for sellers to get away with fake products. This can happen despite the fact that Alibaba has taken considerable efforts to root out such dishonest suppliers from the platform.
Can I get scammed on Alibaba?
Alibaba has the reputation of selling products on a wholesale basis for a much cheaper price than the kind you’d find elsewhere. Cheap prices and the availability of the goods from various suppliers automatically means there is room for being deceived. The best way to avoid being scammed is to choose sellers that are verified by a third-party company (you’ll notice a verified mark on the seller’s profile). If you can afford it, you can opt for a premium membership on the website that enables you to access ‘gold suppliers’ who also pay a hefty amount to get that status.
You need to know that these questions come from a place of concern and they are rightfully relevant. But it can happen to you on other platforms as well, even those that are not as big as Alibaba. As you pick out the most viable Alibaba alternative for yourself, be sure to verify the seller, make safe payments and keep track of your orders.